"What He ordains for us each moment is what is most holy, best, and most divine for us." Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Let's Do the Twist

There are few events to which the people of Perry look more forward than the Georgia National Fair which is held right here in our beautiful little city. All year, the community sign on Sam Nunn Blvd. counts down the weeks -- and then the days, until if finally reads, "Have fun at the fair!" And tonight was Sneak-a-Peak when everybody from Perry shows up. Everybody.

Twenty-eight of us from my own family -- amidst the thousands of people -- seemed to find each other in the crowd.

For the first hour, we moved and grooved to a local group called The Grapevine. And finally, at 8:30, the main attraction took center stage: Chubby Checker.

The legend himself.

When I had originally heard that Checker was to play the Fair's Sneak-a-Peek, I was thrilled. When I shared with my 22 year old daughter that "Chubby Checker is going to be this year's Sneak-a-Peek performer," she just looked at me quizzically and said, "Who?" So just thinking she didn't hear me, I reiterated, "Chubby Checker." And then, Lord have mercy, she said, "Who is that?" "WHO IS CHUBBY CHECKER???" Where, oh, where did I go wrong? For a moment I seriously thought I had failed miserably as a parent and considered turning in my mother button; but when I said, "You know, the Twist," praise God, she at least said, "Oh, yeah."

And so Checker began his show -- and for the next hour and fifteen minutes, it was American Bandstand all over again.
Our special cousin Lynn loves 60's music -- and Chubby Checker. She came all the way from Jacksonville, FL.

Granddaddy and granddaughter snuggle and wait.

My brother and his granddaughter take it in. (And he can still shake a leg.)

Yet another brother and his boy who was actually "dancing" on his daddy's shoulders.

From the youngest to the oldest, people just couldn't stand still. Babies jumped in their granddaddy's arms, youngsters bounced on their daddy's shoulders, teenagers acted as if they themselves had lived the 60s, and the 60+ year-olds danced knowing they really had. Even the most reserved could be seen shaking a little knee or swaying a might in the hips. And our friend standing behind me who is a few years my senior sang every single word to every single song! After all, it was Chubby Checker, the originator of the Twist. The Twist: the only single to top the Billboard Hot 100 twice. The Twist: voted the number one song for the entire decade of the '60s. The Twist: the first rock song to ever win a Grammy. The Twist: named the biggest chart hit of all time by Billboard magazine. The Twist: the grandfather of all the other "solo" dances (such as the Jerk, the Pony, the Watusi, the Mashed Potato, the Monkey, the Funky Chicken).

The performance was non-stop with Checker moving from one song to another with hardly a breath -- certainly no break in the music, when there finally came a crescendo to the evening and the moment for which we had all been anticipating: "Come on, baby, let's do the twist...." And for the next 20 minutes, we did just that. I have to say that in all my 21 years now of attending the Georgia National Fair, this was the most exhilarating and exciting time I've ever known: actually Twisting with Chubby Checker himself. My husband, my brothers, their wives and children and their children; my parents, my cousins, friends from church and friends from the community and, yes, even the governor himself with his family -- we threw caution and certainly all cares to the wind -- and we danced.

Oh, yes, we Twisted!

As the final note waned and the crowd continued applauding and celebrating the legend before us, I experienced a very uncanny and mysterious moment -- a sacred moment, if you will. I realized the gift the Lord gave to the world through this man at a time when our nation was experiencing such turmoil some 50 years ago. And the same was true tonight. It was a moment of coming together as family -- as community ... of forgetting heartaches ... of laying aside fears ... and just dancing.

And so amidst the accolades and ovations of the crowd, and with the same sincerity of gratitude when experiencing a beautiful autumn sunset, I lifted my eyes and raised my hand to heaven and thanked God for Chubby Checker.

And then the fireworks began.

Just an ordinary moment...


Betty said...

That was the way to go with Chubby Checker. No grass growing under your feet.

Dee said...

I still love to twist! You should have seen us at our High School reunion (#40) three years ago. We've still got what it takes. Mostly. This post was good. I'm so glad you had such an enjoyable evening. Hope today matches it.

Gail said...

Way to go Nancy, wish l could have seen Sandy twisting !